While I have bought and sold art in the past, this year is turning out to be the Year of Art! I haven’t done an official tally, but I’ve bought at least 10 paintings and numbered prints since the beginning of the year. And last week I added to that total by winning two auction lots of five original watercolors by Dora McDaniel.
A Southern gal, Dora’s artwork is sold in a number of art galleries and has been bought by celebs like Oprah Winfrey. Now I will admit these paintings are not my style (a little too twee for me), but they are charmingly rendered and beautifully framed and in the right house will look awesome. 🙂
One caveat…paintings and prints can be slowww sellers. It can take years for the right person to come along. But since I like most of the art I buy for my store and display the pieces in my house, I’m okay that they take a while to sell. This past January I sold my Copenhagen canal painting (bought $10 at an estate sale, sold for $75) and still rather miss it!
My Brittany Spaniel dog painting only took a two months to sell. (This outsider painting was bought off a Craigslist seller for $25 and sold for $65.) This painting reminded me of my childhood dog Lance, and gosh, I was hoping it wouldn’t sell quickly!
But that’s how it is for me, enjoying things for a bit and then letting them to go to new homes.
Here are a few paintings I’m still enjoying…
I bought this Paris cityscape painting from a seller on Ebay. No one else had been interested in buying it I’m guessing because the large, very ugly frame had pushed the shipping cost up to $40. I asked if they would be willing to remove the frame and just sell me the painting. They were happy to and the shipping cost dropped dramatically. The signature has been attributed to British painter Alfred Morgan who died in 1930, but my research is indicating that it was likely done by American painter Christopher Morgan.
I also bought this small seaside watercolor by Konstantin Rodko (1908-1995) online. Konstantin, originally from Latvia, used to sell his paintings on the streets of Manhattan. Nowadays his original work is somewhat scarce. I love the colors and composition in this piece and display it in our kitchen.
Still haven’t listed my tiny Rip Matteson painting. I removed the stained matting and ugly frame it came with and want to get them replaced. But I may keep this one for a while.
A confession…I have purchased a few art pieces in the past that turned out to be mistakes. So nowadays I follow a basic checklist to help me decide what to buy.
My Artwork Checklist
- Quality of work/skill
- Who is the artist? Listed? Outsider art? Unknown?
- Subject matter
- Sold prices on similar pieces by the artist
- Current listed prices
- Is there a market for it?
- Potential profit
- Do I like it?!
- Small enough to easily ship?
I also consider the frame. While some frames detract from the art (and I’ll remove and possibly replace them), others can be worth more than the painting itself!
To be honest if I were more serious about buying or selling art, I would subscribe to one of the online services like Artprice or similar, but I’m not at that point.
So for the signed Dora McDaniel watercolors here was my thought process:
The paintings were nicely done, professionally matted and framed in very good condition. Dora is a known artist featured in galleries. Subject matter of these is atypical (chairs!). Current prices for her work are fairly strong. Sold prices for similar watercolors of hers were harder to find online as they typically sell through sites like 1stdibs that don’t reveal their sold prices. (Poop!) At the right price there would be room for profit. Though not my cup of tea, I think there is a market for these.
So in the end, I got them and we’ll see how they do! And you can be honest with me…would you have them in your house??
As always, happy hunting,
The chairs aren’t my style either, but I think the skill of the painter shows. Hopefully, someone will love them.
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Fingers crossed!! 🙂
I wouldn’t have the chair paintings in my house – not my style either. But I know plenty of folks who love this style of work. No judgment! So here’s hoping one of them sees your listing sooner rather than later and you do well on these cute little chair paintings.
I have a question for you. Do you have any tips on safely packing and shipping framed paintings? I’ve done it twice (in Frankenboxes, with home-made cardboard corner protectors and tons and tons of bubble wrap), and it was a headache and a nail-biter until I got confirmation that they had arrived safely and undamaged. Is there a simpler way to do it, or is that just what one has to do?
And I have one more question. What is your criteria for describing something as “outsider art”? I know there are no hard and firm ways to decide if something is outsider art, folk art, naïve art, student work, or the work of a talented amateur. But what, for you, puts a piece of art into one category or another, for the purposes of description?
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Thanks about the chair paintings. 🙂 And good questions!
I have sold (and shipped) about 12 paintings now but have no super duper tips for packing. I do put blue painter’s tape across items with a glass front in case of breakage and typically wrap every painting in tissue paper before wrapping in bubble wrap. Depending on the painting I may also sandwich it between cardboard too. But like you I overwrap stuff to ensure safe delivery. I recently received one painting shipped in a poly bag! with one thin wrapping of bubble wrap. Even though it arrived safely I was aghast. It could have been easily punctured/ruined.
I tend to use terms like “folk art” and “naive art” for more primitive pieces and “outsider art” for pieces that are more polished but the painter appears not be be a professional. I think the Brit’s use the term “Sunday painter.” But honestly I’m not consistent in my usage.
I am still a newbie in art, but sure love it.
All the best, Karen
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